Let’s start the week with this bit of political decency. ICYMI, South Carolina GOP Representative Tom Rice faces a primary challenge because he is one of the small number of Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump after January 6. And he’s not backing down. This is what he said in a debate last week:
"I was there on January 6, I wasn’t absent. I was there. I saw the bomb squads diffusing bombs. I smelled the tear gas. I was on the House floor when the glass was breaking when they were trying to break down the doors."
"When we evacuated I passed Capitol Police officers who were beaten and broken and being pulled from the lines. When we got to the spot where we were evacuated.
“I kept saying where’s the President? Where’s the President? Where’s the President? But he never came on.
"Later I asked my staff to pull the records of what he was doing at the time. And he was sitting in his dining room next to the Oval Office, proud that these people would be in sacking the U.S. Capitol, beating up the Capitol Police officers. And he did nothing to stop.
"In fact, 20 mins after they were in the Capitol, he tweeted out that Mike Pence doesn’t have courage. My friends, you can argue about whether this speech that morning was incitement or not. But, to me, that one tweet was incitement.
"If they would have gotten a hold of Mike Pence, we could have lost our democracy that day.
"The one difference between me and all those leaders back in Washington who said, oh, Donald Trump went too far, he should be impeached, he should be removed, and then voted the other way, I took the principled stand and I defended our Constitution."
General Mark Hertling on Putin’s Speech
What was NOT said, but observed:
-Troop & equipment parade seemed smaller
-No aircraft Z- pattern overflight ("bad weather;" skies were clear!); no "doomsday aircraft" (Putin's C2 bird)
-No GEN Gerasimov (rumored wounded at Izyum)
-Hammer & sickle flag behind Russian tricolor.
This is a unrefined analysis, but here's what I take from this:
1. Putin know he's losing: militarily, diplomatically, economically, informationally...it will get worse?
2. Putin can't spike the ball right now; he's looking for a way out?
3. RU domestic support teetering?
The Right Finds Its Narrative
Politico reports this morning that the Democrats are going on the offensive on the abortion issue. And Lord knows, GOP legislatures around the country are giving them more than enough ammunition.
You should bookmark this new Pew poll:
**TRIGGER WARNING FOR OUR MORE FRAGILE READERS**
As the Wapo’s Dave Weigel warned last week:
Plenty of Democratic and pro-abortion rights efforts to fight back against Dobbs will be doomed, which will infuriate activists. And nothing creates content for conservative media, and the Republicans who increasingly speak through it, than furious protesters.
Since Monday, the liberal group Ruth Sent Us has published the public addresses of conservative Supreme Court justices, urging protesters to walk by them, and ShutDownDC has endorsed a walk-by “protest for reproductive freedom.” In Los Angeles, police clashed with protesters at an impromptu abortion rights rally.
None of this had the support of the Democratic Party, but all of it synced up with a message Republicans have made since 2017: that the left is sowing violence and chaos.
Over the weekend, this happened: “Anti-Abortion Group in Wisconsin Is Hit by Arson, Authorities Say.”
The headquarters of an anti-abortion group in Madison, Wis., was set on fire on Sunday morning in an act of vandalism that included the attempted use of a Molotov cocktail and graffiti that read “If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either,” according to the police.
And we got a huge debate about this:
David French called the protests at Kavanaugh’s home “Dangerous and inexcusable.” Peter Wehner called it “disgraceful and dangerous.”
If MAGA world had done this to, say, RBG, there would (rightfully) be outrage and intense condemnation. I hope progressives speak out in a way far too many voices on the right didn’t during the Trump era.
And our colleague, Bill tweeted out some advice.
But the blowback to Bill’s prudent advice was intense, and for a while yesterday “Bill Kristol” was trending on Twitter.
The gravamen of much of the reaction was that outrage over the draft opinion justified over-the-top tactics. So, there were a lot (a lot) of reactions like this:
And, also, I regret to tell you, there were also folks like this.
Several points here:
Peaceful — and even passionate — protests are justified and protected under the First Amendment.
But threats and violence are wrong (and dangerous) per se.
They are also dumb, because:
They alienate rather than persuade.
The protests at the justice’s homes, or at churches, do nothing to advance the cause; and change no hearts and minds.
They give the Right (which has been struggling with its post-leak spin) a new narrative about mobs, and thuggery, and violence.
So we get this from National Review: “Biden’s Thug Government”; “The Shameful Pro-Abortion Protests Threaten the American Order,” and “Abortion Enthusiasts Block the Front Door of Lower Manhattan Church.”
This is the just mild stuff.
And, yes, the hypocrisy — it burns.
On Sunday, Ted Cruz, who has downplayed the enormity of the 1/6 attack on the Capitol accused Democrats of “embracing mob violence to get their partisan outcome" on the Supreme Court.
"I've got to say, this week, it was shameful that the White House refused to condemn violent protestors threatening the families of the Supreme Court," Cruz said. "It is disgraceful and Joe Biden used to be chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Joe Biden knows it's disgraceful! He's literally threatening the lives of these justices by the mob they're unleashing."
"It's the same thing we saw with Black Lives Matter and Antifa riots, where the left embraced them," he added. "And now they're embracing mob violence to get their partisan outcome."
Exit take: As dishonest, misleading and demagogic as this may be, the Right Media will weaponize this; and it will dominate coverage for weeks.
Update: Monday morning, WH spox tweeted:
I’ll weigh in later this week on the question of whether overturning Roe puts other rights — including gay marriage — at risk.
But it’s worth pointing out that the concerns are not frivolous:
1. Herschel Walker’s Winning Campaign in One Easy Trick
But our colleague Amanda Carpenter asks: What does he really stand for? And what do voters really know about him?
That isn’t to say Walker avoids policy entirely. You can find some, but you have to dig around and probably go to a MAGA rally to get it. His roughly six-minute speech at a Trump rally in Commerce, Georgia in March encapsulated Walker’s unique blending of the worlds.
The speech went like this: Walker encouraged the crowd to chant his name—“Let me hear Herschel! C’mon! Get it out!”—making it obvious that this is a man accustomed to adoring crowds. Then, after he praised Jesus and described himself as “sick and tired of people putting this country down,” Walker said it was time to “tell everyone this is the best country in the world” and “get ready to fight for it.” His fans chanted “Herschel, Herschel!” Then came the policy talk: As a “man of God,” Walker said he would “get men out of women’s sports,” better fund the military, and support law enforcement. Walker said he was also “sick and tired” of “CTR” being taught in schools (he meant “critical race theory,” which is CRT). “Can you tell me what that means?” Walker asked. “We’re Americans. We’re not black. We’re not white. We’re Americans. We’re all mutts, I hate to tell you that,” and tossed off an odd line about how “23andme screwed us all up.
2. What Democrats Could Learn from One Michigan Race
Jeff Timmer writes in today’s Bulwark:
The planets had to align for the Dems to flip this seat in the Michigan House of Representatives—and align they did. The Republican candidate was a special blend of insanity and assholery named Robert “R.J.” Regan. He’s the dude who made national news when he proudly said on a streaming show, “Having three daughters, I tell my daughters, well, ‘If rape is inevitable, you should just lie back and enjoy it.’” He also notoriously uttered anti-Semitic slurs online, praised Putin while dissing Ukraine, posted pictures of Dr. Anthony Fauci next to a noose, and lots of other garden-variety QAnon quackery.
A couple things stick out to me. First, that we cannot act based around what conservative media is going to say. The reason is simple: there could have been no protests at all, or they could have been following all the rules, and the right wing media would still be talking about how dangerous and violent the antifa democrat party is. We know this, because they've done it with everything from caravans of migrants that don't exist to crime that is far lower than it was twenty years ago, but it still somehow a demonstration that the world is ending.
Second, while I don't believe in mob violence, reality is that it likely does not have an effect on the end result. Why do I say this? Because violence by conservative mobs has been a hallmark of conservative activism; whether it's throwing fetuses at people going to planned parenthood or people protesting at soldier's funerals claiming that 'god hates gays' it's been fairly normalized for decades. To go further, the right showing up to places armed, vandalizing things like black lives matter iconography, even vandalizing a church, has occurred, and it has not turned the public against the party that supports these things. And oh, an anti-abortion activist bombed the olympics, lest we forget. Again, didn't matter.
What has happened, and what I do not entirely grasp, is that the actions of the GOP electorate does not seem to get conflated with the GOP as a party, despite the fact that they are extremely close, while the actions of the Democratic electorate are conflated with the Democratic party, despite the fact that they are not close at all. The GOP has a very close relationship between its media, it's politicians, and it's base. The democratic party does not have that relationship. And yet, people protesting for abortion or anything else are immediately conflated with the party itself.
I mean sure, the GOP is about to ban a right that has been in place for half a century, and criminalize wide swaths of readily available birth control, and usher in a two-tiered set of rights that the US has not seen since Dred Scott was decided, but the real thing we all need to worry about is whether or not some protestors are being polite. It seems to me that the position of 'people should be allowed to make life unlivable for some people, but also be free from the blowback that produces' is untenable.
We possess, as a people, the right to assemble. And if we are more concerned with people protesting than the piles of dead women that will be made after Roe is struck down, then we are focused on the wrong things. The fact that the right actively supports armed insurrection when it benefits them is not a bug, it's a feature. And they want to make it seem, deliberately, that when they do it, it's fine. Overthrowing the government in service to theocracy is fine, but protesting outside a justice's house is somehow over the line.
At some point, media figures need to decide if they can actually report on reality, which is that the democratic party and the democratic base are not the same group, and the GOP party and the GOP base are.
I live in Tom Rice's district. I admire the things he's saying, but he's not going to win this primary.
I regularly see signs calling him, quite literally, a traitor and saying that we need to fight communism (because we've obviously become a communist nation under Biden).
The other day I saw someone who was driving around a relatively new pickup truck. It couldn't have been more than 3-5 years old. Hell, it might have been newer than that. It looked brand new. This truck had huge bold text saying "Let's Go Brandon" on the left side, right side, and back end of the truck. It might have been on the front too, but I couldn't get a good look from that angle.
Imagine spending tens of thousands of dollars on a new vehicle and then using it as a way to tell complete strangers, in no uncertain terms, that you're an asshole. These people cannot be reasoned with and are in no mood to negotiate.
Everyone needs to understand that this is what the Republican party is now. There is no going back. It's been said before, but not nearly enough. Too many people still believe the party is going to snap back. It won't. It's 100% Trump's party now, from top to bottom. If you think your GOP member of congress is different, you're probably wrong and if you're not, I have no doubt they'll be facing a primary very soon.
It's time we all accept that the party of Reagan and Bush is dead. Trump is the party's present and future.